We have had to take Dad's car

bagrat

Registered User
Nov 22, 2006
13
My father- in -law has become increasingly forgetful and doesn't change his clothes etc ( you've heard it all ). When we got a letter from the GP saying he was unfit to drive we sent it to the DVLA and managed with great difficulty to move his car to our home for safety's sake. He has no insight and insists he is fine. Now he is ringing 15 -20 times a day asking when he will get his car back. We explain each time about the doctor's decision and DVLA but it really distresses him although he hasn't actually driven for about a month(we used to check the mileage). Are we doing the right thing by explaining over and over and being honest? The phone calls have been going on for a week now.
 

Amy

Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
3,453
Hiya Bagrat, welcome to TP.
Personally, now you have been honest with dad, but he is unable to retain the information, I would go down the route of little white lies - purely on the basis of not wanting to upset him any more than is necessary. If it makes dad feel better if you tell him that it has had some major mechanical failure - then what is the harm? There is no right answer, but I do not believe that it is wrong to lie in this situation.
Let us know how things go on.
Best wishes, Helen
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
The tell or not to tell conundrum. Have you tried fobbing him off with "the car's being repaired" or something similar? You could give it a whirl - if he doesn't remember and continues to call, you're not in a worse situation than you are now. Does it distress him each time you explain? Because if so, I'd try the white lie. If it doen't distress him, I'd be inclined to continue telling him the truth. The problem being, of course, that whatever you tell him, he's probably not going to remember anyway.

Jennifer
P.S. Well done, though. A lot of people dodge this issue, to the danger of everyone else on the road.
 

Cate

Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
1,370
Newport, Gwent
Hiya Bagrat

I agree with the 'bit of a fib', just sometimes it helps with keeping a little dignity, far better to think that the car is past it's sell by date, than you are!!

But sadly as Jennifer has said, you will probably be saying the same thing over and over because FIL will probably just forget what has been said.

Best wishes
Cate
 

abby

Registered User
Dec 19, 2006
182
West Country
Well..way back Dad said he felt he couldn't / should'nt drive anymore.......::( ...and we agreed .....he hadnt driven for many months...but he didn't remember this...)

His car was sold and the proceeds paid into his account.
But even today we had to discuss the MPG.......size of the steering wheel...the dimensions of the tyres......how can he remember all this and not rememeber what he had for lunch?
 

bagrat

Registered User
Nov 22, 2006
13
Thanks

mThanks for your help. Our problem is we get the feeling he is sort of remembering what we tell him some times. He'll ring and say "you've got my car". We've tried "not at the moment", and that annoys him too. If I mention taking an assessment and seeing the doctor he says goodbye and hangs up. We have told the local police in case he reports it stolen, but I actually don't think he could work out how to do that. he can't remember we come each week (130 mile round trip) and do his shopping etc. We have the support of a SW but Dad refuses all help.
 

twink

Registered User
Oct 28, 2005
265
67
Cambridgeshire UK
I agree, I put the car in for an MOT and it failed so every time Steve wanted to drive, I said, you can't, it hasn't got an MOT and also I showed him the labels on his tablets which said do not drive whilst taking this medication as it may make you drowsy. He didn't retain anything either so I just kept on showing him the labels and I told him that he'd be off the tablets soon and the car would have another MOT and just kept on saying that. Fortunately it worked.

Sue
 

bagrat

Registered User
Nov 22, 2006
13
feeling uncomfortable with this

Am trying the " we have taken the car to a garage near our home as it wasn't safe to drive" but he keeps saying "will you be bringing it back on thursday" then I say "if it's ready". But these are long conversations sometimes and I feel very uncomfortable joining in his confabulations. He is less agitated by this line I think - but I'm not sure he believes me!! I field as many calls as I can because they upset and anger my husband so I will persevers with "the car is at the garage". Although he can't remember what day it is he can do the math once I tell him. Thanks for all your help.
 

Nebiroth

Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
3,511
You have actually mentioned one apprach yourself - you said that if you mention going to the doctor he says goodbye and hangs up.

Could you just not say, when he calls, that before driving he has to see the doctor?

This sounds cruel but it sounds as though you are tying yourself into knots trying to keep up with stories that you think will satisfy him...and not having much success.

It sounds as though he accepts a visit to the doctor has to happen before he can drive even though he doesn't like it!

It sounds horrible but the chances are that the upset will be brief as he might well not remember it five minutes later.

I found with my dad that there are two approaches - that is, go along with him where this is harmless (like his visits to China, Australia, America etc etc when he was in the Navy), but where it is not come up with an argument stopper (like "I don't want to take the tablets" - "alright, but you will have to call the doctor and tell him" - tablets taken...with a grumpy face, but taken).

That's just my take on things, otherwise you could face ever longer and more elaborate tales with your FIL.
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,630
London
Hi Bagrat et all,

I think that giving up the car is one of the big hurdles, particularly in the early stages of dementia. But it quite simply has to be done as the consequences are terrifying. Lots of us have been there.

In my opinion, and as one other poster mentioned. The key is dignity. We managed to get dad to give up the car by saying that I really needed a car and would buy it off him and he'd save loads of money every year which he could spend on taxis instead. The idea made sense and ironically it was cheaper to use taxis for the next year than the running of the car! :)

It is horrible telling these white lies, but they make everyone feel better in the end (in my humble opinion). Again the key is giving the person with dementia a feeling of dignity and that it is almost their choice rather than your interference.

I wish you the best of luck
Kind Regards
Craig
 

caincat

Registered User
Jan 7, 2007
4
chorley, lancashire
re had to take dad's car

Hello there,
We had a similar situation with my Dad - after a serious accident, things started to fall into place and we realised he may have Alzheimers. Dad (and my mum) wouldn't accept that he couldn't drive, and had to stop driving whilst awaiting a DVLA assessment. He wouldn;t listen to any of us (my brother and I and it didn't help that my mum thought he was ok too), but strangely enough as soon as the assessor told him he was not fit to drive, he accepted it immediately (sooner than my mum) - you don't say if the doctor informed your dad that he couldn't drive - sometimes when my dad doesn't believe things we are saying, at the next doctor's visit we ask the doctor to confirm things - and guess what, in my dad's eyes the doctor's word, or that of the DVLA assessor is law. Maybe at a next doctor's appointment your doctor could re-confirm. I don't know how old your father in law is, but if he's a similar generation to my dad (68) then the word of a policeman, doctor or third party in a suit seems to stick.

Finally, the only way my dad truly accepted things is when his car was sold - we had to as it was in the garage and whenever anybody wanted to get a screwdriver, he was insisting that he'd have to move the car (he didn't have to move the car and we didn't let him as he couldn't drive).

Cheers
 

bagrat

Registered User
Nov 22, 2006
13
Thanks to you all. Caincat, we informed DVLA Dec 5th and sent a doctors letter but have heard nothing back. We try to intercept Dad's mail but because of distance wonder if some is getting through. We have shown him a copy of the letter and left a copy with him which he denies having seen. He doesn't see GP regularly as he won't go with us and obviously home visits are like gold dust these days. We have a meeting with CPN and SW in 2 weeks but I am trying not to expect too much from it. Quiet evening today only 3 calls after 7pm when we said the car was going to the garage (which is true as it happens)
 

caincat

Registered User
Jan 7, 2007
4
chorley, lancashire
Hello, I don't know where you are in the UK, but in the North West it unfortunately took 7 months for my dad's assessment date to come through from the doctor's letter, and that was even with my mum and dad going on the list for cancellations - hope its faster where you are. Its a tricky thing with cars as often thats the last large bit of independance left - I really hope you get your DVLA date through very quickly as that will help your father in law to know once and for all.
Good luck
 

tubbie

Registered User
Nov 1, 2006
16
Cambridge
Bagrat

You have my sympathies, you really do. My Dad went ballistic when we took his car, which we had to do by trickery after he got pulled over for dangerous driving, and then again when we took his bicycle. My Dad had been a driving instructor, a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and held an HGV licence so you can imagine how affronted he was. My only advice is to give it time, my Dad did eventually get over his anger and these days rarely mentions the car or bike. I found the whole awful situation easier to deal with when I discovered that if we could try and help him preserve his dignity by inventing excuses for his not driving, he found it easier to live with. We tell white lies a lot these days and I personally think if it eases the pain of the sufferer then why not? My Dad said to me on Saturday "I dont' really know what's going on anymore these days" and I replied "Tell me about it!" and then proceded to tell him how difficult and confusing life can be, which clearly made him feel less excluded.

tubbie
 

KenC

Registered User
Mar 24, 2006
913
Co Durham
Hi,
I guess in many ways I was lucky that I realised things were not right, and stopped driving straight away before I was diagnosed. What worried me more than anything else, is what would I do if I killed someone else. After having been a driver since 1968, it was a struggle but my I kept telling myself, I was doing the right thing. Besides this my wife is a good driver, and there are plenty of buses, so I really don't need to drive. But many people I have met who have the illness and refuse point blank, to give up driving because its there right, or at least thats the way they think. I am not sure how we get out of this, short of the Doctors informing the DVLA themselves which they refuse to do.
Perhaps hiding the car or the keys is the easiest way out until another solution can be found.

Good Luck

Best Wishes

kenc
 

Nixi

Registered User
Jan 7, 2007
3
London
I have just been reading all of this with great interest. I have had Mum's car taken away today, sneakily while she is away with my sister. I have no doubt that there will be repercussions on her return but I think I will go with the white lies.
Nixi